As a racewalker, I am often asked as to why I racewalk rather than run. In fact I’m quite sure that nearly every racewalker is asked as to why they do what they do all the time. Well firstly, the simple answer for me would be that I am exceptionally good at it and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is where I am headed. However, what benefit does it have for the average person you ask? It is an excellent workout! Racewalking is a far more strenuous activity than regular walking and burns just as many calories per kilometre as regular running does. If anything, in my experience it is more strenuous than running, as the form is much more limiting than a running form therefore making it less efficient and forcing you to do more work. Still not convinced? Racewalking has a significantly lower likelihood of injury than running. Since the rules of racewalking (one leg must always be in contact with the ground, and the knee must be straight from foot plant until it is directly underneath you) keep you close to the ground at all time, the average racewalker impacts the ground with 1/3 the force a runner does. Due to this, the likelihood of suffering a high impact overuse injury is greatly reduced from running. So racewalking is in summary, same workout, less risk than running.
So I have you convinced? Now you’re wondering how to get started. Firstly, you’re going to need a shoe. Racewalking requires a specific minimalist shoe due to its restrictive form. You need a shoe with a thin midsole that keeps your foot close to the ground. This enables you to properly execute the racewalking form and to pass your leg underneath you during a stride and plant your leg straight. Generally any minimalist racing shoe will do, I personally prefer the Mizuno Wave Hitogami, but that’s personal preference. Now that you have your shoes, you need to learn how to walk. For this there is a movie named Walk Don’t Run. With enough careful viewing and a friend to compare you to the movie, you’ll have it before you know it. Who knows, you may be Olympic material too!